Jesus and the Ancient Superstitious "Evil Eye" Problem.

Are we to actually believe that people have a powerful "evil eye"? In Matt 6:22 (Luke 11:34-36) Jesus says "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is generous [NRSV: healthy], your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" Later, Jesus mentions the evil eye in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt 20:15). The landowner asks the worker, "Do you have the evil eye because I am generous?"

According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus, in a dispute with the Pharisees over the issue of purity, (Mark 7: 1-23), lists the evil eye (Mark 7:22) among a group of evil things (Mark 7:23) that emerge from the human heart and thereby pollute a person. Note that Paul (Gal. 3:1) uses the concept as well: "O foolish Galatians! Who has put the evil eye on, you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was proclaimed crucified?"

6 comments:

Lee Randolph said...

Hi John,
Mathew did a great job on that article.

I took the liberty of finding a couple that you did regarding biblical superstition and providing the links.

I think this is one area that weakens the claims of Gods participation in the bible and strengthens the claims that we can't know anything with any certainty about god from the bible.

- The Bible Itself Tells Us Ancient People Were Superstitious.
- Jonah, Evidence and the Superstitious Past.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I found your perspective of the biblical "evil eye" as "powerful" to be very insightful....

In fact, the passages you reference here give no such inference. Contrary to your projection of empowerment, I find these words are simply acknowledging the existance of a dark perspective and its subsequent effects.

Darren said...

Holding's response to Matthew's "Evil Eye" article:

http://www.tektoonics.com/etc/parody/greeneye.html

:)

John W. Loftus said...

Let's see, Holding thinks the evil eye language is metaphorical for effect, eh, in a culture that believes people really have an evil eye, huh? And he really believes the Bible is merely accomodating itself to its hearers, huh? Huh?

Hmmm. I suppose then the Bible was also accomodating to its hearers when God never condemned slavery, or witch, heretic and honor killings either, eh?

Can God justify all of this accomodating? Why must God accomodate to his creatures? Why can't he simply tell them the truth, especially since because he didn't there have been so many problems, including the Galileo affair, and the fact that we who want to assess the Bible's accuracy in today's world doubt it's from God because of this. His God is not too smart for an omniscient being.

In fact, there is nothing in the Bible that could not have been written by a person without divince revelation in that era at all. Everything reflects the age in which it was written. Why is that?

Jospeh said...

I thought Matthew hit the nail on the head in his post when he said, "The Christian apologist starts out with the desired conclusion such as 'God exists', 'Jesus is risen from the dead', 'The Bible is inerrant in all of its details' and then they scavenger hunt scholarship for details in support of their doctrines. Contrary evidence is an oxymoron for them....Any data to the contrary is simply not allowed to exist and when apologists feel pinched by such data, they will spin the data in any way that they can to make it look as though it doesn't pose a threat."

This is EXACTLY how I used to approach the defense of the faith. I really didn't care about the facts so much as I cared about convincing people to ignore then.

Darren said...
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